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Business Needs To Speak Out – Lough

Business Needs To Speak Out – Lough

22 July 2004 - New Zealand Trade and Enterprise chairman Phil Lough says companies calling for amendments to the Resource Management Act should “speak up and speak now.”

Mr Lough said today the current review of the 1991 Act by the Ministry for the Environment provided an opportunity to effect changes around its operation.

“But the deadline for submissions is close. Those calling for change need to move quickly.”

Submissions can still be made to the Ministry for the Environment via its website and email through feedback@rma.govt.nz.

Mr Lough welcomed the Government’s current review of the RMA.

He said many companies had made their concerns about the Act and its operation known to NZTE.

“A clear message that business is giving is that they need certainty and efficiency around resource management processes.

“The fundamentals remain simple enough – we want to protect our environment and we need to develop our economy. “Our economy needs to move up several gears, be innovative in its approach and fast to adapt to changing markets. Timeliness is everything in these conditions to ensure businesses keep a competitive edge. Business needs resource management procedures that can keep up with the pace of business planning, while at the same time protecting our environment for future generations.

“Ultimately, businesses must be able to plan and count on timeframes.”

Mr Lough said there has at times been confusion, frustration and inconsistencies in interpretation of the Act.

“A common complaint is the variation of interpretation of the RMA around the country. Some companies have suggested the establishment of a national body to set national standards would help. This was envisaged when the Act was enacted in the early 1990s but more steps are needed in order to deliver this level of certainty that businesses require.”

Mr Lough noted that the Government’s review is focusing on achieving a balance between national and local interests; improving the design and process for local policy formulation; improving the consent decision-making process; the allocation of natural resources; and supporting measures for building capacity and promoting best practice and implementation.

To make changes for the better, Government needed to know just exactly what is claimed to be wrong.

“This is an opportunity not to be missed.” Mr Lough said.

ENDS

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